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What Does it Mean to Drive While Intoxicated in Texas?

Glass of alcohol with keys next to it.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most common criminal offenses in Tarrant County, the Dallas – Fort Worth Area, and Texas. A DWI conviction has potentially lifelong consequences, such as jail or prison time, in-patient rehabilitation, and a stain on your criminal record. The experienced Tarrant County DWI Criminal Defense Lawyers with The Law Office of David Sloane can protect you!

What Does Texas Law Say About Driving While Intoxicated?

In Texas, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated (DWI). This includes not just alcohol but also any other substance that can impair a person's ability to operate a vehicle, such as drugs (prescription or illegal). Texas law sets the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit at 0.08%. If a driver is found to have a BAC above this limit, they can be charged with DWI, which can result in fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. Additionally, if a person is under 21, Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and driving, making it illegal to operate a vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, a person commits a DWI offense if they:

  • Operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated
  • Do not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol
  • Have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher
  • Are under 21 years old and have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a vehicle in a public place

A prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a defendant to be convicted of driving while intoxicated.

What Does Texas Law Consider a Motor Vehicle?

A “Motor vehicle” is defined under Texas Penal Code § 32.34(a) as “a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.”

The most common examples of a motor vehicle are:

  • Car
  • Truck
  • Boat
  • Golf cart
  • ATV

What are the Consequences of a DWI Conviction in Texas?

The punishment range for a DWI offense in Texas depends on a variety of factors. Punishment depends on whether it is a first, second, or third DWI. Various enhancements, such as having an open container, having a child under 15 years old in the vehicle with you, or having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.15 or higher, can also increase the offense level and punishment range.

In addition to the criminal consequences, a defendant convicted of driving while intoxicated offense also faces legislatively imposed collateral consequences, such as driver's license superfines and suspensions. If convicted of a DWI offense, a defendant faces a driver's license superfine between $3,000 to $6,000 and a driver's license suspension between six months to two years.​​

Can You Fight a DWI Charge?

If you or a loved one are facing a DWI offense accusation, you need aggressive criminal defense representation. A DWI conviction carries substantial prison time, permanently stains your criminal record, and results in numerous collateral consequences. The experienced Tarrant County DWI Criminal Defense Lawyers with The Law Office of David Sloane are here to protect you! Our Tarrant County DWI Criminal Defense Lawyers have helped thousands of clients fight alcohol-related cases in Texas and throughout the greater Dallas – Fort Worth Area.

Our legal services are available throughout the DFW Metro, including:

Contact us today at (817) 349-7118for a FREE Consultation with the Tarrant County DWI Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Law Offices of David Sloane! Contact Us for a Free Consultation with our Tarrant County DWI Criminal Defense Lawyers.